Hey all! Hope things are going well back home. Over in Mozambique, we are officially volunteers! We have had a whirl-wind week that I will try to sum up before my computer battery dies.
Our last week in Namaacha was pretty good. Things were kind of weird at my homestay seeing as my homestay dad moved back home from Maputo, where he was at the University. After 8 weeks of no dominant male in the house, it was kind of hard for me to adjust to the way things are when the dad is home. We ate dinner much later (10:30 one night!), a ton of meat was served at every meal, and my sisters just didn’t joke around as much as they normally did. Oh, and some random boy moved in with us that no one ever introduced me to… whenever I finally can post pictures (now I have internet but my g-mail and Picasa sites won’t connect… go figure) I can point him out. He’s in all the family pics, yet I have no idea who he is! Anyway, I was kind of bumming about a less than perfect last week with my family, but my final night actually went really well. I gave them my gifts, which were 2 Michigan T-shirts (my sisters took these and I taught them to say “Go Blue!”- so funny), candles (my mom took these), a flashlight key chain (my dad), and like a million silly bands for everyone else (including mystery boy) that were quite the hit! After that they sang me some farewell songs in the local dialect and then we had a photo shoot. It was a blast! Unfortunately, the next morning my mom left without even saying goodbye to me… but my sister cried, so I feel like I did at least have some positive impact on them!
Friday morning, after grabbing our last Namaacha sandwich, we loaded the bus to go to Maputo for swear-in. We arrived at the hotel around noon as scheduled, but unfortunately we couldn’t check in until 2! The hotel was fabulous, so we all just lounged around in the air conditioning. Eventually, we checked in (I had a sweet… oh my goodness, so nice) and got ready to go to the Ambassador’s house. Here, we had our ceremony (despite the rain, which apparently is good luck) and became official volunteers. We also took an ungodly number of pictures and ate far too much food. That seems to be a recurring theme for our last week. More to come. Afterwards, we headed back to the hotel and started celebrating both our becoming volunteers and Michelle’s 23rd birthday! It was a blast in a half- lots of dancing, laughing, and even some 2 am swimming.
Bright and early Saturday morning, we left the hotel to fly to Chimoio. My group was the first to leave, so fortunately, and unfortunately, we missed out on the mad house of goodbyes that apparently took place in the hotel lobby when everyone else was leaving. I’m glad I missed all the tears, but it’s too bad I didn’t get to give everyone one last hug- so Moz15, here’s a shout out and goodbye hug to you!!!
Since then we have been in Chimoio for our supervisor’s conference. There is a professor from my school here representing my director, and he seems very nice. At first he was pretty intimidating, but I think he is taking this all very seriously seeing as my town has never had a volunteer before and they are all finding out what we are really supposed to be doing. The whole day is in Portuguese, and since we’ve kind of been slacking in our Portuguese the last few weeks, this is fairly exhausting! I think it is good practice at just feeling awkward 24/7, though, and very useful for all of us to talk about our expectations for each other. Besides the conference, we are busy desperately trading movies and music one last time, speaking as much English with each other as possible, and spending the last few days together. Tomorrow, all the Tete folks will load a bus with our supervisors and all our stuff (we are shopping today and apparently I need to buy a mattress…) and get dropped off at site. Apparently I am 3rd on the drop off list so I will actually get to site tomorrow! Crazy how fast that creeped up. I have a feeling I will be having dinner with the teacher that came to the conference (he had lots of questions about what kind of food I eat), which will be nice to have something to do/ someone I know when I get to town. Oh! And my village is not called Tamuire- the school is Escola Secundaria de Tamuire, but my town is actually called Kaunda. I have found that mentioned somewhere, so that is exciting! My teacher-friend said it was hot, dry, and there is lots of xima, dried fish, and bush rat to eat… get excitied.
I am planning on going down to Tete City next weekend to do some shopping and probably stay at Helen and Audrey’s for a night. Hopefully I will be able to update a little bit then! It’s fairly daunting to think about leaving all contact, but I think I will adjust fairly quickly. I am anxious to update you all as I know you are anxious to hear about it (my mother has made it very clear that people are reading and asking questions!!!) So, I will do my best!
The song for this post is “Wagon Wheel” by Old Crow Medicine Show. I had never heard this song before training, and since I have been here it seems like everyone is listening to it. I think it might be making a come back back home, too, seeing as I saw it on someone’s Facebook? Weird. Anyway, I have listened to it on repeat for the last 9 weeks, and think I will always associate it with my first days in Mozambique!
That’s all for now… missing you all, trying to remind myself that it’s Christmas season, and thinking about everyone back home often!